Andy Murray laments his lack of cutting edge in shock US Open exit
Andy Murray bemoaned missed opportunities after being dumped out of the US Open in a shock four-set defeat to Kevin Anderson.
Murray was a heavy favourite to beat Anderson, having won five of their six previous meetings, but the big-serving South African played the match of his life to win 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-0).
It means Anderson progresses to his first Grand Slam quarter-final, where he will now play Stan Wawrinka.
Murray led by a mini-break in the first set tie-break but let it slip and the disappointment seemed to carry over into the second, as he allowed Anderson to storm 5-1 clear.
The Scot fought back, breaking once, and almost again, but Anderson held his nerve to clinch a two-set lead.
Murray dug deep and sparked hopes of a comeback when he snatched the third set on a tie-break but the World No 3 left himself too much to do and Anderson closed out in the fourth.
"I felt like I had my opportunities but didn't manage to capitalise on them - when you're playing against someone as good as him it's tough," Murray said.
"In the second set I felt like I was starting to put pressure on him. When I had the break point at 5-3, I had a backhand pass that I really should have made.
"When you're playing against players that are at that level, like him, you need to obviously make them think and then give them a chance to get nervous."
Nerves could have played their part had Anderson been taken to a decider, particularly given the 29-year-old threw away a two-set lead to lose to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in July.
While the 6ft 8in ace-king moves into his first quarter-final, the defeat for Murray brings an end to an impressive run of 18 consecutive appearances in the last eight of Major tournaments.
"That's obviously something that is disappointing to lose," Murray said. "That's many years of work that's gone into building that sort of consistency. To lose that is tough.
"Also, to lose a match like that which was over four hours, it's tough after a couple of tough matches earlier in the tournament. It's a hard one to lose."
Meanwhile, Italy's World No 43 Roberta Vinci advanced to her first Grand Slam semi-final by defeating France's Kristina Mladenovic, ranked three places above her, 6-3 5-7 6-4.
After getting broken, Mladenovic asked for a medical timeout. Not eligible to receive more treatment for cramping, she said it was a different injury. Vinci protested as Mladenovic had her left thigh wrapped.